[MUSIC PLAYING] ETHAN KRAMER: Good morning, new Cornellians, family, friends, distinguished guests, and orientation volunteers. My name is Ethan Kramer. And it is my honor to be among the first to welcome you to Cornell.
I am co-chair of the 2016 Orientation Steering Committee, a group of 15 students that have worked together for many months planning for your arrival. We've scheduled and organized over 100 events, recruited, interviewed, and selected over 500 orientation volunteers, and, together with all of our volunteers, successfully moved over 5,000 suitcases, 15,000 boxes, and 19,500 pairs of shoes yesterday.
[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
I would like to ask you to join me in recognizing the university officials who are here with us this morning. Please hold your applause until the end. Catherine Boor-- dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Lance Collins-- dean, College of Engineering.
Kevin Hallock-- dean, School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Kevin Kleinman-- dean, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. Barbara Knuth-- dean, Graduate School. Ryan Lombardi-- vice president for student and campus life. Joel Malina-- vice president, university relations.
Alan Mathios-- dean, College of Human Ecology. Gregory Morrisett-- dean, Faculty of Computing and Information Sciences. Mary Opperman-- vice president and chief human resources officer. Hunter Rawlings-- president. Gretchen Ritter-- dean, College of Arts and Sciences.
Rebecca Stoltzfus-- vice president for undergraduate education. Fred Van Sickle-- vice president alumni affairs and development. Kate Walsh-- interim dean, School of Hotel Administration.
Also here with us are university trustees-- Robert Abrams, trustee, Carolyn Neuman, trustee, and undergraduate student-elected trustee Yamini Bhandari. Also here with us is the president of Student Assembly, Jordan Berger.
In addition, I would like to acknowledge the members of the 2016 Orientation Steering Committee. They are also sitting on stage. They have been volunteering for over a year to make much of this coming orientation week a reality. Miranda Deane, Lauren Dennis, Antony Fernandes, Reed Geisler, Colton Haney, Brad Heinzinger, Ashlye Hodge, Emily Hunsinger, Alexandra McFarland, Olivia Myers, Douglas Riegel, Nir Tomer, Elizabeth VanDenburgh, Kristen Williams, and Lindsay Hansen. Thank you.
To the new students, I am happy to share that many days after receiving your acceptance letter, you're finally here starting your journey as Cornellians. During these next few days, you'll be gaining just a small glimpse into what makes Cornell Cornell. The wait until this day may have felt short, as I'm sure many of you were finishing up school. Or for others of you, the wait may have felt long as you counted down the days before your arrival.
As members of the OSC, we have been counting down the days until your arrival since January, planning hundreds of events, activities, and discussions to best prepare you for Cornell. We have events such as Silent Disco, field day, nontraditional student meet and greet, as well as bathroom tours, including gender-inclusive and ADA bathrooms.
Orientation is the time to learn about all of the amazing opportunities at Cornell and to enjoy what Cornell has to offer, without the stress of classes. It's the time to learn about the plethora of resources-- office hours, tutoring, counseling services-- set up to help you succeed. It's the time when it's OK to go up to strangers and say hi without ever feeling strange. It's the time when I remember leaving my door open, smiling at everyone that walked by, sitting with new faces at the dining hall, and making some of my first friends at Cornell, many of whom I'm still friends with today. Lastly, orientation is also the time to add every single person you meet to your phone, even if a semester later you realize you don't recall who that person is.
For me, orientation was a defining moment in my Cornell experience-- warm weather, great food, new friends, awesome events, and lastly, no parents. Hi, Mom and Dad. It allowed me the chance to see new places, like the Plantations or Treman State Park, using the skills I learned at the TCAT orientation event. That's our bus system, if you weren't sure.
It allowed me to try new things, like warm, fluffy pancakes with Oreos, Reese's Pieces, Heath bar, and coconut, drizzled with maple syrup. That's at Sunday brunch at Robert Purcell Community Center, for those of you drooling from that description.
And even though I was exhausted each day, coming from going to bed at 9:30 PM in high school to staying up until 2:00 AM the first few days, it was worth it because, during orientation, two new friends and I made the long trek from North Campus to Barton Hall, in the pouring rain, just to meet others and have a fun time. After racing in inflatables, eating cotton candy and popcorn, I remember our way back, completely soaked, at 1:00 AM. Despite our clothes being wet and heavy and our fingers pruney, we were laughing and smiling as we just had an amazing time at one of the many orientation events.
It helped me realize that although this place may feel big and intimidating at times, there is always a group for you to find. Orientation is the time to learn about the new place you'll soon accidentally call home and the new people you'll soon purposefully call family. Thank you.
Please join me in welcoming Student Assembly president Jordan Berger.
JORDAN BERGER: The first team that I tried out for, I didn't make. The first essay that I turned in was mediocre at best. My first exam was a borderline disaster. The first group of people I met will not be my lifelong friends.
As a senior looking back, I do not allow my failures to define my Cornell career. Instead, I define my Cornell experience through the chances that I have taken, the memories that I've created, and the community that I have built.
Hello. My name is Jordan Berger. And I'm a senior from Fort Wayne, Indiana. I am the president of the Cornell Student Assembly, the undergraduate student government.
Throughout your first year, I hope that you will explore the many opportunities that Cornell has to offer. There are over 1,000 student organizations comprised of students who have been anxiously awaiting your arrival, as they are looking for new members. There will be pushy seniors, like myself, who will be looking for a first-year with a lot of potential so that they graduate knowing that their respective student organization is in good hands. By the way, have I mentioned there are 10 open seats on the Student Assembly?
If I could go back and redo my first year at Cornell, I would tell myself to slow down. I quickly joined the organizations that aligned with my high school interests and jumped on the first leadership opportunities that were available. Although a few of these opportunities worked out, I have always wondered what I would have been involved with if I had slowed down and shopped for the perfect student organization for me.
Over the next few weeks, I hope that you will think about what you want to accomplish during your time at Cornell. This can change over the years. Don't be surprised if you change your major, join a new student organization, or accept an internship in a field that you would have never expected.
I came into Cornell passionate about finding opportunities to volunteer in the Ithaca community and building my skills to become a litigator. As I enter my senior year, I will spend my time working to improve the campus community for people of all identities and to find my first job in policy. You might decide that you want to spend your time doing research for an interesting professor or performing in Ordinary People, the social justice theater ensemble, or maybe trying out for one of the many business fraternities.
Because there are so many organizations at Cornell, I know you will find the one that is comprised of people who have similar goals as you. These people will push you to work harder than you thought you could work and to chase the opportunities that you are passionate about.
The people sitting around you will be the members of your community for the next two, three, four, or five years. Together, you will define your collective Cornell experience. Get to know the people in your classes, residence halls, student organizations, and dining halls because they each have a unique story.
As Bill Nye, one of our alumni, said, "Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't." Learn what they know, and find out what they're doing at Cornell. You never know where their journeys might take you. The people I met during my first year introduced me to the fun of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the excitement of Dragon Day, and the community of Shabbat dinner.
And remember, there are thousands of students who will be arriving over the next four days that have a plethora of Cornell experiences that I'm sure they would love to share with you. If you meet an upper-level student that is doing something of interest, ask them to get coffee. Ask them how they got to where they are today and if they learned anything along the way. If you have any interest in running for the Student Assembly, are looking for advice on how to get involved on campus, or just want to know where to get lunch on the first day of classes, please feel free to email me.
Congratulations, class of 2020 and new transfer students. You made it to Cornell. But now what will you do?
ETHAN KRAMER: It is my pleasure to introduce our vice president of student and campus life, Dr. Ryan Lombardi.
The Division of Student and Campus Life provides a broad array of programs and services designed to support students and the campus community, including athletics and physical education, Office of the Dean of Students, Gannett Health Services, Finance and Administration, Public Service Center, Cornell Career Services, and Campus and Community Engagement, which includes new student programs and orientation. Prior to joining Cornell in August 2015, Dr. Lombardi served as the vice president for Student Affairs and affiliated faculty at the Patton College of Education at Ohio University. He also worked at Duke University and the Colorado College.
Dr. Lombardi received an undergraduate degree in music education from West Chester University and a master's degree in higher education administration from the University of Kansas. He completed a doctorate in higher education administration at North Carolina State University. In the coming months, you will likely see him at events on campus, along with his wife, Dr. Kara Lombardi, and his two daughters. Please join me in welcoming Vice President Lombardi.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Your intro was longer than my comments. Thank you. Good morning. Thanks, Ethan. And welcome to Cornell.
We are just so delighted to have you here. And it's terrific to see you this morning. Although I have to admit, the sun makes that a little bit difficult-- shining in our face.
So hopefully you've recovered from move-in by now a little bit. Everyone slept well last night, I'm sure. And, students, you have started to get a sense of some of the many events that your fantastic Orientation Steering Committee, who we met before, have put together to help you successfully transition to Cornell.
I really do encourage you to fully engage in the programs and events they have planned. They'll ensure that you get your Cornell experience off on sound footing. I really encourage you.
I can also promise you one thing. These warm temperatures that we're experiencing this weekend, you'll wish for them in just a couple of months. And for all the family members who are here this morning, when you come back for parents' weekend in October, I suggest you think differently about your clothing choices. I'm told it can be pretty cold that time of year.
Cornellians, you are preparing to embark on your intellectual journey at one of the world's truly great universities. And to ensure that you make the most of your journey, you have likely heard it is a prerequisite that you do so with an open mind. After all, if you approach your education in this manner, you have the greatest likelihood of a breakthrough in your study, your research, and in the way that you solve problems. I doubt any professor or anyone here at Cornell would tell you otherwise.
But today, students, I want to ask of you something more. Beyond just opening your mind, I ask you to open your heart. Because while the mind will allow you to thrive and create for our world, the heart is what allows you to experience it. It is what allows you to live. It is what allows you to love. And it is what allows you to feel the consequence of all that you do through your mind.
And I believe that the work of even the greatest minds of our generation and those generations before ours would mean very little if we were not able to somehow feel the impact of their efforts. Because we are at times, you see, quick to devolve our arguments into a manner in which the heart and the mind are somehow not intrinsically connected all through the same central nervous system. At times, we argue that we mean no offense by our approach. It is only our way of thinking.
You know, I actually hear this quite a bit from my 8-year-old daughter. Dad, no offense, but your music is pretty bad. You should try Taylor Swift over Dave Matthews. But I digress. And I ask, why is it not possible to have a cogent argument related to a concept or issue you have studied or feel passionate about while also expressing empathy, curiosity, and a desire for understanding towards your counterpart?
It is possible, you see. It just takes more effort. It requires you to spend more time. And most importantly, it requires you to invest more of yourself.
But that is an investment worth making, because our world desperately needs more heart right now. We need you, our newest Cornellians, to lead with your minds and with your hearts. Not only will your intellectual journey benefit from this approach, but so will your life and your time here. And one can only hope that our world will benefit from this approach too.
I wish you a great journey ahead and look forward to being with you every step of the way. Thank you.
[MUSIC - CORNELL UNIVERSITY CHORUS AND GLEE CLUB, "SONG FOR CORNELL"]
CORNELL UNIVERSITY CHORUS AND GLEE CLUB: (SINGING) Spirit of wisdom, like an altar burning high o'er this darkling world vexed with little learning. Let thine enkindling ray round about these towers dwell, lighting thy hills, Cornell.
Thou art not stone, so much as one man's dreaming. Let then thy lamp be bright and thy doors be gleaming. And let us now go forth, doubt and darkness to dispel. Shine from thy hills, Cornell.
LAUREN DENNIS: Sorry. Hello. My name is Lauren Dennis, the other half of the Orientation Steering Committee co-chairs. And welcome to the best four years of your life.
Although today I am just a washed-up, nostalgic senior at her fourth new student convocation, it feels like just yesterday I was sitting where you are, bright-eyed, because the sun was in my eyes and I forgot sunglasses, and with my stomach in knots because I definitely did not wake up early enough for breakfast. Seriously, this is pretty early. Like many of you, I had no idea what to expect from Cornell or orientation. To be honest, I left my orientation guide at home. But after going through my own orientation and working as a volunteer for the past four years, I think I've gotten a pretty good idea.
So today I want to tell you what I wished I knew three years ago. First, there is no right way to do orientation. Some of you may plan to go to every event you possibly can, while others might only be interested in registering at the Club Sports Fair. Some of you may have already highlighted every event in the guide that interests you, while others may just accidentally stumble upon an arch sing.
Whatever your strategy might be, orientation is your first taste of Cornell. Literally, there is free food at almost every event, including that all you can eat buffet of pancakes that Ethan described. Orientation is your first opportunity to discover your home for the next four years.
It's your chance to get acquainted with the surrounding Ithaca area, one of the best college towns in America. And it's your chance to discover the Plantations, see the gorges, and learn how to navigate Cornell's campus-- well, at least how to get back to your dorm. Or in my case, learn the hard way that the units in Low Rise 7 look exactly like the one you live in in Low Rise 6. Hint-- Low Rise 7 has a large 7 on the outside.
Orientation is your opportunity to be open to endless possibilities and to take a step outside of your comfort zone, as big or small as you want. It's your opportunity to approach any stranger, because you know they are just as nervous and excited as you are. And it's your chance to treat everyone you meet like they are your best friend, because you never know if that person is the stranger you met online that just had to be your roommate, the person you are sitting next to right now, or someone you will meet in the dining hall tonight.
Orientation is your opportunity to gain new responsibilities and learn how to take care of yourself. For many of you, this may be your first time living away from home. And unfortunately, it may also contain your first load of laundry.
But while this is your first time on your own, you will quickly realize that never means you are alone, because orientation is your first opportunity to ask for help. And don't be shy, because help is everywhere. Whether it's from your orientation leader, your RA, a faculty member, or an on-campus group, someone has the answer to your question.
Most importantly, orientation is the only week you are on campus without classes or tests or other stress. So take advantage, and let it be your first opportunity to appreciate Cornell. Ultimately, orientation is only one week, but it sets the tone for your entire year.
Just like orientation, there is no right way to approach your first year on the Hill. Some of you may sign up for dozens of clubs at Club Fest. But others may wait until second semester to get involved. But either approach is OK because the strategy that worked for me might not work for you.
Your first year is your time to discover yourself and to never stop exploring. It's your chance to take a class in something you know nothing about but may one day inspire your career path. And it's your chance to go to Apple, Chowder, and Chili Fest on the Ithaca Commons.
Your first year is about expanding your comfort zone. It's your chance to channel your inner Elle Woods and go Greek. It's your chance to play intramural innertube water polo with your OL group. And it's your chance to apply for a position on a committee you don't think you'll get and you don't think you're qualified for, but that two years later will have changed your college experience for the better.
Your first year is about sitting in the dorm on your floor and saying hi to people you haven't met because you never know the impact you can have on them or the influence that they can have on you. During your first year, you will build the courage to admit what you don't know. It's your chance to go to office hours and ask for help. And it's your chance to call home for life advice, a quick hello, or to say thanks.
Your first year is about trial and error because you will stumble. But what's more important is how you stand up and what you learn. Ultimately, your first year is unlike any other year. And it will go by faster than you could have ever imagined. So appreciate it.
This might be your only chance to live in a residence hall and go to dinner every day at 5:30 with your entire floor. We called that "Grandma dinner." And trust me, it's full of amazing memories, like staying up all night with all your friends after your very first Slope Day.
So even on the coldest, snowiest days, remember to pick your head up and acknowledge the beauty that's all around you. And even on your worst nights, remember that you belong here and appreciate everything Cornell has to offer before you're back here for senior convocation. Thank you.
And now it is my honor to introduce our next speaker. He is a leader and a scholar and has provided tremendous service to Cornell. President Hunter Rawlings became interim president of Cornell University this spring, following the untimely death of President Elizabeth Garrett.
Rawlings, a president emeritus of Cornell, had been the university's 10th president from 1995 to 2003, a professor of classics in history, and he served as interim president for one year in 2005 to 2006. Prior to his second interim term, he served for five years as the president of the Association of American Universities. During his presidency, he provided strong support for continuing to increase student diversity and for Cornell's need-blind admissions policy.
Rawlings renewed Cornell's emphasis on the importance of undergraduate teaching, setting an example by teaching a course in the Department of Classics. He also envisioned and launched the Residential Initiative, a new approach to residential life that developed North Campus as an all first-year area and West Campus as a collection of residential colleges for sophomores and juniors that we are all familiar with today. Rawlings set strategic scientific priorities for Cornell, including the Cornell Genomics Initiative and the New Life Sciences Initiative. At the same time, he provided additional support for programs in the humanities and the social sciences, recognizing their significance in this rapidly changing scientific and technological environment.
Rawlings graduated from Haverford College with honors in classics and earned his PhD in classics from Princeton University. Before coming to Cornell, Rawlings was president of the University of Iowa. Please join me in welcoming President Hunter Rawlings.
HUNTER RAWLINGS: Thank you very much. Thank you for those very nice words. When you're this old, it takes a long introduction.
You know, the sun is right in our eyes. And I thought to myself, I should get on a Cornell baseball cap. But then I thought, sitting behind a podium wearing a red hat this year is probably not a good idea.
[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
So I want to welcome all of you, as well, to a really great place. This is the third time I've had the opportunity to serve Cornell as president. And it's an enormous privilege. It's a huge privilege.
Part of the reason it's such a privilege is the people who are sitting behind me. They're not just any deans and vice presidents. They're really, really good.
And I know them personally. Many of them have been here for a good time. And they know what Cornell is about. They know what Cornell should be. They're very good at what they do.
And when you come back as abruptly as I did this year, if you don't have people of that quality, it's a really hard job. But when you do, as I do, it's a much easier job and it's an extremely enjoyable job.
My wife, Elizabeth, and I have been associated with Cornell now for more than two decades. We have a deep commitment to Cornell. We love this place. And I'm pleased to be able to pinch-hit-- and that's what I'm doing this year is pinch-hitting-- until we have a new president.
Welcoming new students and their families to Cornell is always a fascinating experience. By the convocation of 2003, I had already noticed that the freshmen were getting really young. Now the parents look like freshmen to me.
And I'm not kidding. I met a mother this morning. And I thought, she's the freshman. I welcomed her to the university and asked her what she would be studying. She said, I'm the mom. So that's what happens when you're back here for the third time.
We worked hard to bring a very talented, diverse class to Cornell. And we have one. Members of the class of 2020-- and by the way, it's hard to say "2020"-- come from 59 countries outside the US and from 48 states, plus Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. You were selected from almost 45,000 applicants. That's the most in Cornell history.
The question, of course, is, what are you going to do now? Coming to a great university can and should be a life-changing experience. But like so much else in life, what you gain will depend to a very large degree on the effort you put into it.
Most people seem not to understand this very simple point. Practically everyone now evaluates college in purely economic terms-- economic terms-- thus reducing it to a commodity, like a house or a car. So just for the record and to reassure you and your parents, the average college premium, as they call it, in lifetime earnings for those with a college degree is now about $1 million above the lifetime earnings of someone with only a high school degree. So, yes, there is a very good economic return-- in fact, one of the greatest economic returns you can have from any investment.
But when we think of degrees as products, colleges as purveyors of those products, and students as customers, the results are terrible. Students can feel entitled to classes that don't push them too hard. They can feel entitled to high grades and to course material that does not challenge their assumptions. I want to advise you today that is very unlikely to happen at Cornell.
Here-- go ahead and applaud. It's OK.
Here, we work hard to counter the consumerist model because college is not a commodity. It is a challenging engagement in which both parties, the university and the student, have to play an active and risk-taking role.
And you heard our very good students urge you to go ahead and take some risks while you're here. I know you don't feel like that this morning. I don't blame you. I wouldn't either.
But get enough confidence in your first or second year to take some academic risks. Take some courses that seem pretty tough, pretty challenging, outside your comfort zone, as our seniors said. Go ahead and do it, because why else are you here after all? Not just to earn grades, but to learn things.
There's a wonderful story, perhaps apocryphal, about a university president who, when greeting new students, as I'm doing this morning, said the following to the new freshmen. "For those of you who have come here in order to get a degree, congratulations. I have good news for you. I'm giving you your degree today, and you can take it and go home. For those of you who came here to get an education, welcome to a great academic opportunity."
Now that's what I'd like to say to you this morning. But I'm afraid some of you might take the degree and go home.
So we're not going to do that. But it's a good story because it says what I think really needs saying. You're here to get a degree, yes. But that's not the real reason you're here. The real reason you're here is to learn things that you never dreamed you could learn.
You'll find professors here who will inspire you, prod you, irritate you while creating engaging environments that enable learning to take place. The interaction between professors and students is different from what happens when you read a book or surf the web. All those activities can be fine. But the professors, by and large, make the material come alive for students and invite them to engage in it. Tomorrow's Explore! Series, for example, will give you a taste of the university courses being offered in the fall and spring and an opportunity to meet the faculty who will be teaching them.
As my friend Bill Chace, the former president of Emory University, has said, "Good teachers supply oxygen to the classroom. Students breath the oxygen and put it to use in learning what they need to learn."
The courses you decide to take or not take, the amount of work you do, the intellectual curiosity you exhibit, the degree to which you participate in class, your focus and determination will contribute to the value of your Cornell education. I've taught classes which my students made great. They made them great classes through their efforts. And I've taught classes where students made sure the class was mediocre. It's a lot more fun to teach the first kind.
Unlike a car or a house or a television, college requires the so-called buyer to do most of the work to obtain the value. So how do you choose from among the vast array of courses available at Cornell the best ones for you? Well, when I went to college, I chose courses that most people don't choose. I chose ancient Greek and Latin. My uncle said, you'll never get a job.
When I got my first teaching job, my uncle said, when are you going to get a job? Now my uncles think I actually have a job.
But the point here is, you're studying at Cornell not for a job but for your whole career, your whole life. That's why you're here. A good liberal education includes science and technology, arts, humanities, and social sciences. That kind of education encourages you to apply yourselves to the daunting task of using your mind.
A good liberal education will help you get on the path to a fulfilling career, not just a job-- a career that requires critical thinking. But it will do something more important. It will teach you that it's a responsibility and pleasure to use your mind.
And I want to tell you a story. In 1870, the young Henry Cabot Lodge, who would go on to be a US senator and confidant of Theodore Roosevelt, took a course at Harvard from the nearly equally young Henry Adams. Here's what Lodge had to say about the difference that course from Henry Adams made in his life.
"In all my four years, I never really studied anything. I never had my mind roused to any exertion or to anything resembling active thought until in my senior year I stumbled into the course in medieval history given by Henry Adams, who had just then come to Harvard. Adams had the power not only of exciting interest, but he awakened opposition to his own views. And this is the one great secret of success in teaching. He awakened opposition to his own views.
I worked hard in that course because it gave me pleasure. I took the highest marks, for which I cared singularly little because marks were not my object. And for the first time, I got a glimpse of what education might be, and I really learned something.
Yet it was not what I learned but the fact that I learned something that I discovered that it was the keenest of pleasures to use one's mind-- a new sensation. Imagine a senior who didn't feel he had ever used his own mind. But when he did, he discovered that it was the keenest of pleasures and one which made Mr. Adams' course in the history of the Middle Ages so memorable to me."
I love students-- I love students who want to use their minds. You're about to begin one of the most demanding, most stimulating, and most rewarding experiences of your life. We're going to challenge you, encourage you. We're going to support you. We'll hold you to high standards of academic integrity-- academic integrity.
We hope and expect that you'll do your part to make our joint enterprise a success. It's a joint enterprise. We have our responsibilities. You have your responsibilities. Welcome to Cornell, a really great place to learn.
So now please join the Cornell Chorus and Glee Club in singing the Alma Mater. And the words are in your program. And it won't be long before you know them by heart.
[MUSIC - CORNELL UNIVERSITY CHORUS AND GLEE CLUB, "FAR ABOVE CAYUGA'S WATERS"]
(SINGING) Far above Cayuga's waters, with its waves of blue, stands our noble alma mater, glorious to view. Lift the chorus. Speed it onward. Loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our Alma Mater. Hail, all hail, Cornell.
Far above the busy humming of the bustling town, reared against the arch of heaven, looks she proudly down. Lift the chorus. Speed it onward. Loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our Alma Mater. Hail, all hail, Cornell.
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Interim President Hunter Rawlings addressed thousands of new students, along with their families and friends, during the New Student Convocation on Aug. 20 at Schoellkopf Field. Rawlings' address was preceded by remarks from Ethan Kramer ’17, co-chair of the Orientation Steering Committee; Jordan Berger ’17, president of the Student Assembly; Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life; and Lauren Dennis ’17, co-chair of the Orientation Steering Committee. The event was part of Orientation Weekend, Aug. 19-22, in preparation for the first day of classes on Aug. 23.